Social media has become a presence in the everyday lives of much of the world, and for that reason it has also become a critical part of the efforts of marketers and anyone who wishes to promote something. For blog owners that means developing an audience on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook that goes beyond simply being there. Interacting with users via followers is beneficial for both bloggers and readers, and it’s a prime reason why social media and blogging are often seen as a match made in heaven.
The simplest reason for being on social media is promotion, and it tends to also be the one that leads to the most misguided efforts. Social media is not inherently a promotional system, unless you’re talking about something like LinkedIn, where there’s an explicit component of promotion built into the entire interaction. The sense that social media ought to be used for crass promotion often leads to cramming things down readers’ throats.
A good promotional effort through social media should flow from a natural conversation – in fact, all social media efforts should! A social media follower is already someone with a strong affinity for whatever you’re trying to do with your blog. What you want to do is plug your blog’s content into that pipeline in order to get the conversation going more aggressively. As your readers share and like your content, they’ll spread it to folks who may never have heard of your blog. The process flows organically, and it begins with delivering great content that attracts attention.
Modern search engines also place a lot of weight on links coming in from social media. As your users share your posts and links, this will act as a strong signal to the search engines, such as Google, that your site has quality content that people trust. This can have a compounding effect as more users through search will find your blog and add your feed to their list of social media accounts that they follow. As that base of readers grows, they will share more items from your feeds, thus increasing the overall impact of your promotional efforts.
Blog readers have a tendency over time to drift off unless you maintain a furious posting schedule. Most bloggers simply do not maintain the type of constant posting schedule that it takes to keep visitors returning multiple times a day. By linking to your content through social media, you can prompt readers who might have let your blog slip out their minds to return. This is especially beneficial for bloggers who only post a few times a month, and readers will appreciate the ease with which they can learn about new content on your blog. This also reduces the potential frustration that readers sometimes feel when they visit a blog and there’s nothing new since they can simply wait until they see a new post in your feed before returning.
Social media can also promote a stronger conversation with your readers. As you answer their questions and interact with them, they will begin to form a bond with your blog. This not only increases retention, but it encourages them to go out and evangelize your work.
Likewise, these interactions can become the source of new ideas for your blog that you may have never considered. There is often a strong feedback mechanism between bloggers and a social media audience. As your reader base grows, you may be surprised to find that your blog moves in directions that you never expected, thanks to the insights of new social media followers.
3. Little Thoughts
Not every thought you’re ever going to have requires a full blown blog post, and social media is a great place to say something small and move on quickly. It’s also helpful to use social media to link out to content that is not on your blog but you find interesting. This helps to keep your blog from becoming clogged up with smaller posts, and that reinforces the idea that your blog is serious and consistent.
4. A Sense of Authority
Social media users increasingly ask around about who might be the authority on a range of subjects, and if you have a feed they can easily tell their friends and followers to look to you. Social media feeds also do a good job of providing a long-form view of your posting history so they can check out older links and learn more about your blog. A lot of people who are seen as authorities on popular subjects maintain social media feeds, and they tend to commit to maintaining them and growing their audiences. If you’d like to be seen as a blogger who displays some level authority, then it’s time to become a social media poster and allow more readers can learn about your writing.
5. It’s Easy
A lot of blog owners spend a great deal of time trying to build a readership, and many also spend a lot of money trying to buy ads and links. Social media sites are almost always free to join, and you only need to commit a couple of minutes from your schedule each day in order to keep your feed fresh. In terms of the best bang for your buck, there are just very few promotional tools that even come close to social media.
Social media and blogging can seem intimidating at first blush, but most bloggers who take the dive are thankful that they gave it a chance. The social media world opens up an entirely new conversation, and as your feed attracts new readers, you’ll likely be impressed by how much your blog’s audience grows along the way. It’s a cost-effective way to promote a blog, and the outreach effort frequently leaves bloggers surprised by how much they’ve been missing by not being on social media.